Why I’m Bananas over Dates

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Yes, dating your loved one is healthy for your health, but I am talking about the wrinkly little dried fruit that is oh so sweet! We’re right smack in the middle of the holiday season and this is the time of year that people are hooked on sugar and it’s so hard to get off it once you’re on it! I use dates to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way.

Dates come from the date palm plant. In our country, they are primarily grown in California and Florida. There is also a destination in Arizona where they are grown, appropriately named Dateland!

Here are some of the amazing health benefits of dates:

Phenomenal Fiber

Do you know that you are supposed to get at least 30 grams of fiber today?! It’s likely that you do not consume enough because the latest research shows that only 10 percent of American get enough fiber! Dates are one way that you can up your fiber intake! One serving of dates has a whopping 7 grams of fiber!

Fiber can help your digestion and helps prevent your blood sugar from spiking!

Packed with Phenolic Acid

Phenolic acid is an antioxidant that has amazing anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect you against almost any disease, including heart disease and cancer!

High in Minerals

Dates are high in potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and even have a decent amount of iron. These minerals help promote bone health. Potassium is excellent for heart health as well. And iron is important for carrying oxygen to your muscles and your brain!

Are you going to join me in eating dates this month?! Here’s a recipe to start you off! And because I want to help you defeat the sugar temptation this month, I promise to post a new date recipe each week in December!

Bananas over Dates Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas chopped
  • ½ cup dates
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground gloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate World Pistachio Day with Me

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Happy World Pistachio Day! Yes, that’s right, today is a day to celebrate pistachios. Let me give me a little Pistachio 101 lesson on this little powerhouse. Related botanically to cashews and mangoes, pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, and are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible. Americans started enjoying pistachios in the 1800s, but the first commercial crop wasn’t harvested until 1976. Today, California produces 300 million pounds of pistachios a year. They are also produced in Syria, Greece, Italy, and Turkey.

These little green nuts. are packed with amazing nutrients, such as B-complex, healthy mono-unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin E, copper and other minerals. Studies show that daily consumption of nuts, like pistachios, may reduce the risk of heart disease and may lower blood pressure. Emerging research shows that pistachios can help manage blood-sugar levels even when consumed with a high-carbohydrate meal. Now, that’s powerful!

Here are some more fun facts about pistachios:

  • One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts! No deprivation here!
  • New research shows that your serum antioxidant levels rise when you at pistachios.
  • New research also shows that your LDL (BAD!) cholesterol levels can lower when you eat pistachios.
  • Here’s my favorite! Pistachios can make you happy! These little green nuts are actually referred to as the smiling nut in Iran and the happy nut in China.

I enjoy many of the pistachio products made by Setton Farms. Pistachio Chewy  Bites are awesome and handy little snacks to take with me when I travel. They are so simple and natural and yummy-a pistachio cranberry combo. If you are a chocolaholic, you will love their Dark Chocolate Pistachios. If you like things to be spiced up a little, try their flavored pistachios. Setton’s flavored pistachios are available in five different flavors. Consumers can choose from Chipotle BBQ, Chili-Limon, Garlic Onion, Jalapeno and Salt & Pepper.

Did you know there were so many fun ways to enjoy pistachios? Try any of these—you will thank me!

 

Celebrate Sweet Potato Month

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It comes to no surprise that November is sweet potato awareness month! Many people only ever eat sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. They are a regular part of my diet, especially in the colder months.

A great way to prepare them is to thinly slice them and steam them for 8-10 minutes. This brings out their delicious flavor and preserves their nutritional value. Adding nutmeg or cinnamon can enhance the flavor and add even more nutritional value.

Speaking of nutrition, the nutrition in a serving of sweet potatoes is astounding. In one serving, you get over 200 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, biotin, and potassium.

Sweet potatoes have an antioxidant known as Anthocyanin that is an amazing anti-inflammatory. With that said, several studies have discovered how foods with Anthocyanin help protect against several inflammatory conditions like heart disease and cancer; anthocyanin also appears to help cognitive function.

As part of the Iowa Women’s Health Study, 34,489 postmenopausal women without Cardiovascular Disease (heart disease) had their diets assessed and were followed for 16 years. The researchers found that consuming anthocyanin-rich food once per week was associated with a significant reduction in death from heart disease and coronary artery disease.

As for cancer, in animal studies, anthocyanins inhibit cancer development in animals given carcinogens and in those with a hereditary predisposition to cancer. Anthocyanins have been tested against esophageal, colon, skin, and lung cancer, and in several cases have been effective against the development and progression of these cancers.

Research suggests that flavonoids, including anthocyanins, have the ability to enhance memory and help prevent age-related declines in mental functioning.

Isn’t that awesome?!

And here’s probably the coolest way to prepare sweet potatoes: you can eat it like toast! Yes, I said toast! Here’s what you do: slice your sweet potato into ¼ inch slices and crank your toaster up to the highest setting, add your sweet potato slices, and keep toasting until the surface of each slice is beginning to brown and the inside is tender when pierced with a fork.

So, enjoy sweet potatoes later this week at your Thanksgiving feast, and keep ‘em coming all winter long!